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West Rogers Park man is Chicago’s first 2012 slaying

William Lee, Chicago Tribune –

A 19-year-old man shot in the back seat of an SUV in the Albany Park neighborhood this morning apparently became Chicago’s first slaying victim of 2012.

Nicholas Camacho of the 6300 block of North Campell Avenue was pronounced dead at 4:24 a.m., at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The shooting happened in alley in the 3000 block of West Lawrence Avenue at about 2:30 a.m., police said, citing early reports. Police originally believed it occurred near Lawrence and Kedzie avenues.

Camacho was with a group of three men and a woman riding in a black Ford Explorer that stopped in the alley so that the men, including the victim, could urinate, according to police.

As the men stood in the alley, police said the victim’s group was approached by a man who began flashing gang signs at them, said Officer Robert Perez, a police spokesman.

Camacho ignored the man and his group quickly got back into the SUV, police said. The stranger, who was with a group of five to eight men, pulled a handgun and opened fire on the SUV, Perez said.

Camacho, who was sitting in the rear passenger seat, was struck in the head, police said. The SUV’s driver took the victim to Swedish Covenant Hospital. It was hospital officials who notified police.

The man was later transferred to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he died.

Police believe Camacho was an innocent victim. It appeared that he “was trying to get away from this individual who was throwing up gang signs,” Perez said.

Police recovered three shell casings at the scene of the shooting, as evidence technicians processed the SUV for evidence, police said.

No arrests had been made in the shooting.

Perez couldn’t immediately confirm that the man was the city’s first slaying. Technically, the year’s first homicide belongs to police, who fatally shot Michael Smith, 52, after authorities said he pointed a handgun at officers in Marquette Park just 10 minutes into the new year.

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